Being a pilot takes a great deal of training and patience, well, for the decent airmen at least. It is also a job that requires a good touch and steady mind.
There are many elements that come into safely taking an airplane from point A to B and we have pilots to thank for expertly considering all in a short time frame. We love the feeling when we get to our destination and the wheels touch the ground but what happens when the runway is pretty dodgy to land on? Once again, it’s the men and women upfront who have us covered.
loaded asked a pilot, who wishes to remain anonymous, about landing giant, metal birds on runways.
loaded: What are the elements needed for a smooth landing?
Pilot: You can do a good landing in all sorts of conditions. With regards to specifics I’d say; calm wind, slightly damp runway and day is better than night. Conditions aren’t very relevant, unless it’s really bad. If the runway is wet or has snow on it, we don’t land soft on purpose.
loaded: What does Landing Soft involve?
Pilot: Landing smooth. If it’s wet or snowy, we put the plane down so we can start braking, so the spoilers deploy right away. Otherwise, it would be a difficult to stop if you try to land smooth on a runway like that. We call those types of runways, contaminated.
Here are five runways that suck to land on:
E.T. Joshua, Saint Vincent.
Tailwinds are an issue at this tiny airport in the Caribbean, which can make it difficult for commercial aircraft to take off with enough lift and has caused a few deadly crashes.
Surrounded on three sides by the coast, short runway and a highway running through it. Sounds impossible.
Melville Hall, Dominica
Built in 1958. This runway is surrounded by mountainous terrain and not considered ideal for night landings
This runway is 350 metres long, going uphill. ‘Nuff said.
Challenging visual manoeuvring within the valley, made harder by low-level wind shear (a sudden change of wind velocity and/or direction), come as standard.
Loaded staff writer Danielle De La Bastide has lived all over the planet and written for BuzzFeed, Thought Catalog as well as print publications throughout the Caribbean.